Gary Carr’s C.C. Is One Complicated Pimp

by Ashley Morton

The British actor discusses the importance of money in C.C.’s world, and revealing a pimp’s vulnerable side.

  • What was your first reaction to The Deuce scripts?

  • It was some of the best writing I had ever read. As an actor that doesn’t happen all the time, so when it does, everything in you is like, “I need to be a part of this.” It’s a great story, as well. That’s what drew me to playing C.C. At first everyone thinks, “Oh, he’s a bad guy.” But he’s a really complex character, and that attracted me to the role.

  • How did you prepare for the part?

  • I did a lot of research. As with any role, I think that’s how you really tap into creating the world and making it believable. It’s about the details; that’s what’s connecting you. So I was like, “Give me everything you’ve got.” I asked for every book, every publication, lots of documentaries. That really helped me build a backstory. In particular, the documentaries about pimps helped me figure out the psychology behind it -- the background; a little bit of what these guys are used to.

  • Does C.C. have genuine affection for his girls?

  • Definitely. I mean, he cares about them, but not in the way you and I might care about someone. Because of circumstance. Basically he’s a survivalist; he’s trying to survive, just like a lot of these girls are. He recognizes they’re human, but he also runs a business. That’s No. 1: Money. Everything’s about money. That’s why he gets to a point where he would even hurt them. But he does have an affection for them. It’s a family.

  • What’s going on for him when he’s cutting Ashley’s arm in Episode 1?

  • Many different things, which is what makes C.C. so complex. Pimping being what it is, it’s about power and control. And in that particular moment, it’s also the drive for money and love -- the way he knows how to love. It’s, “Money is the money, and you need to work. That’s No. 1. I love you but it’s No. 1.” It’s very twisted.

  • C.C. really takes Lori under his wing. Is that standard procedure for a new girl or is she different?

  • He is definitely good at what he does. He recognized openness to that kind of world when he saw her; he knew she was game. But also she surprises him so he develops something new and fresh that he doesn’t have with other girls. So there is something different with Lori.

  • Is he being genuine when he tells her about his desire to eventually settle down?

  • There’s some honesty there: Pimping is dying and he sees that and wants out. It’s a mixture of things. He’s trying to work some things out. I don’t think anyone would want to be a pimp forever, and he’s very ambitious as well. It makes perfect sense he would want other avenues and explore the world. That’s a thing for him. He’s connecting with her on an emotional level, but then gets wrapped up in the control and the power: “You still have to do as I say.”

  • He gets a little aggressive when Lori talks about her former pimp, is he insecure in some way?

  • Definitely. That’s another beautiful thing about his conflict in being human. Every day is a survival -- You have to make that money. You have to be number one. But he’s got a lot of fear, as well. That’s why I love C.C. He’s very human.

  • When he stabs the fake cop, is he thinking it's an opportunity to show Lori how much she still has to learn?

  • I don’t think he wanted to be in that position with her because it’s more difficult to get her out onto the street to work. He did what he thought he had to do -- I don’t think that’s the first time he’s done that, or the first time any of them have done that. He knew what was going on. And C.C. is a bragger. That moment was: “It’s sad that this happened, but I know my s**t.” And also to be honest with her. He said, “I care about you and I’ll cut any motherf**ker down who tries to hurt you,” and he’s serious about that.